Thursday, April 25, 2013

Yankeetorial: By refusing to take walks, Ichiro isn't doing us or himself any favors

First, a caveat: It's wayyyyy too soon to count out Ichiro Suzuki. Last year, he proved Seattle wrong; those people getting stoned at the Space Needle have to admit he had gas left in the tank. Maybe he'll do the same to his critics this year, as well.

But let's hope it happens soon - as in, right now. If he doesn't spring to life, we've got problems. Because when the Grandyman finally can, he's going to take an outfield position from someone - that is, unless we see another injury - and it would be Ichiro going to the bench, and I don't think he'll like it.

Ichiro's on-base percentage currently stands at .266. In other words, if a guy is batting just .270 - he's ahead of Ichiro already - not counting the walks. It's the lowest on-base percentage among Yankee starters - (assuming we can agree that Jason Nix is not a starter) - and his four walks thus far amount to half of what the feared slugger Francisco Cervelli has attained. The red hot Eduardo Nunez - batting .174 - has an OBP of .273.

The other day, Ichiro came up with two outs, the bases loaded and a pitcher who had walked the last two batters. On the first pitch, he bounced a grounder to second. OK, that's baseball, nobody's perfect... and like I say, you can't count the guy out.

But I find nothing more frustrating than Ichiro sitting on a 3-1, 3-0, or 2-0 count. He never works a walk. He appears to have as much bat control as anybody in the game...  but he never grinds for a walk. And face it: An on-base percentage of .266 is horrible.

Which leads me to one final lament: In the face of all our cost-cutting, we signed him for two years. The official line seems to be that we signed him because of the marketing possibilities  with Japan, the action figures, the placemats and coffee mugs, etc.  WTF? We're the Yankees. We're not supposed to be thinking of nickels and dimes. Two years? While we're trying to cut payroll?

It's hard to see Ichiro holding up for two years - especially if he can't adjust his game and start working the counts now - when his playing time is on the line.


Swinging Kei said...

Walks are like hitting home runs. Ichiro! could do it, if he wanted to. He just doesn't wanna.

joe de pastry thinks not a robot words are easier to read than faded numbers said...

He's had one good month in the last two years. Signing him was ridiculous.

Buhner's Ghost said...

If you think pinstripes will change him, you are dreaming. Your comments could have been lifted from any Mariner blog during any of the 12 seasons he played in Seattle. When he hit .350, few cared that he refused to walk. At .250 or under, the criticism mounts, and it is more than justified. Just don't expect him to listen to it.

Anonymous bleacher creature said...

That ain't Swish in right field? Oh, man! I thought Swisher just changed his look again.

bleacher creature again said...

OK. OK. I give up. Is it Bobby Abreu out there?